Data: To Share or Not To Share

Data: To Share or Not To Share

There’s a growing divide in the perception of data collection. Headlines pop up daily unveiling questionable intentions from our most trusted and frequented sites and apps, leading us to believe our location information is a precious gift of which we’re being robbed. We’ve seen companies exploit personal attributes for their own gain and profit, which sets a bad tone. But, the big data industry exists for reasons quite the contrary – it’s to benefit both businesses and consumers while reducing mass-marketing noise.

Security experts agree it is nearly impossible to stop location tracking via smartphones. Our best friend, the smartphone, constantly communicates with cell towers and transmits metadata from our communications, phone history and data usage. In turn, the proverbial door is kept open for third parties to discover where we are. It sounds downright invasive, but is it? Location sharing actually has its fair share of benefits, so let’s consider reaping them.

“For the vast majority of people and the vast majority of circumstances, the benefits they get from sharing their whereabouts way exceed the risks that might be out there,” said Jeremiah Grossman, the head of security strategy for SentinelOne, a computer security company.*

Consumers tend to turn location-sharing on and off as needed. While many share concerns about it, only about 20%** proactively check their location settings. As negative connotations lurk, and consumers try to restrict sharing, many still do share unintentionally. 44%** share with more apps than intended, causing concern amongst the majority.  But why?

There is a strong lack of trust in data collectors. 80%** of consumers don’t fully trust how their data is used, and even more dislike current privacy policies. This is because most consumers aren’t fully aware of what happens to their data after it’s collected. Even though a clear “opt-in sharing” selection should mitigate this, and the EU is attempting to educate consumers through the GDPR compliance laws, there is the anxiety-producing belief that sometimes there is no choice in data sharing.

Data collectors can offer benefits to influence willingness to share location data. Around 70%** of consumers would share their location data in exchange for increased safety, better services, and cost-saving deals. The willingness to share increases proportionally with transparency.  Opting in to share location on apps seems less invasive if you receive beneficial information such as:

  • Relevant traffic alerts to optimize your commute
  • Customized content and insider promotions in your favorite apps
  • Loyalty award alerts to redeem gifts/discounts
  • Special offers when approaching your favorite coffee shop
  • Hotel guest perks, automatic check-ins and VIP services during your vacation stay
  • Parking updates and information upon entering/leaving a stadium

While we understand there is a division in the perception of location sharing, we believe it can be attributed to lack of transparency of what advantages and disadvantages come from it. Over 65%** admit to willingly sharing data if they knew why, how and under what conditions it would be used, stored and/or deleted.

At LOCALLY, our mission is to help people and brands have a more engaging and personalized experience in a fully transparent manner.  Whether you’re a brand, marketer, app publisher or data solution, we help you identify the most valuable approach to connect with your end-users across many industries including advertising, hospitality, retail, finance, tech, automotive and more.  Next time your favorite mobile app delivers compelling content, accurate re-routing due to traffic, or welcomes you to your favorite hotel, remember not all data usage is questionable, sinister, or as bad as it once seemed.

Learn more about LOCALLY’s real-time location-based solutions backed by proprietary data science at






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